Inbound marketing is how you get new visitors by focusing on your own branding. Here’s how to do it.
To understand the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, let’s think about the ways people hear about you to get to your site.
If someone googles “buy woollen hiking socks” and sees your company sponsored through Google Shopping ads, that’s outbound marketing.
If someone is a hiking enthusiast and is reading blogs about trails in their area, and one of those bloggers links to their favourite hiking socks (yours) on their page, and that person is directed to your product page on socks, that’s inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing simply refers to the tactics you use to gain new visitors that focus on brand development, rather than paid advertising. Here are the major types of inbound marketing.
Longform blog posts
Ah, my favourite (but I’m biased). Blogging is your typical inbound marketing move. Blog posts give you plenty of room to build a brand story and make your store stand out from every other one on the (virtual) block. And, at the core of it, blog posts are filled with opportunities to incorporate keywords and get seen on search engines.
Here’s a graphic we also used when writing our post on developing a content strategy (because it’s just so good).
Clearly, developing the right content is incredibly important for driving traffic and increasing conversions on your site - and blogs are a great format for content.
Don’t like blogging? Don’t worry, we got you. Here are 38 blog ideas you can start writing right away.
Informative or engaging videos
It’s been proven time and time again that videos are important for ecommerce stores. Most of what people look at on the internet is visual content, and products that show how they’re used in real life through a video seem more trustworthy than just a photo.
But you don’t have to stick to a one-person-in-front-of-a-camera-explaining-your-product video strategy. Actually, any kinds of videos that get people to your website are great, so take the chance to explore. Make funny videos, cute videos, videos that seem human and real, videos that you and your friends actually want to watch. Just make sure that your videos always encourage the next step - ask people to subscribe, ask people to visit your website for more, etc.
Solid SEO practices
We’re talking about things like making sure your site is easy to navigate and tagged with a sitemap. Including meta-descriptions in everything you post. Making sure your images are search-engine friendly. And hey a quick tip - if you haven’t yet, submit your website on Google’s Search Engine Console which basically tells The Google you’re alive and kickin.
Read more about how Google and Search Engine Optimisation works here.
Planning an inbound marketing campaign
Like any other type of marketing campaign, you’ll want to set yourself up for success by thinking through your whole line of choices.
Use keyword phrases that are popular but not sold-out
When you’re writing blog posts, working on your meta titles and writing video scripts, you’ll want to use keywords that a large enough audience is interested in. But here’s one of the points where being the little guy has a disadvantage. For the most part, if a large and trusted company has a post about your keywords, very few people will read yours over theirs. For example, if you’re writing about travel deals and Flight Centre has a post with the same title, people are more likely to see and read Flight Centre’s. Not to despair, though. The way to get around this is to focus on long-tail keywords Instead of building your content around “travel deals” you can build it on “the best way to get from Melbourne to Perth on a budget” or “cheap places to stay in Auckland”. You’ll find that by just getting a little more specific and thinking from the perspective of your customers, you’ll start to identify keyword phrases that fill a gap in what everyone else is writing about.
Don’t be boring
Remember in high school when all you wanted to do was fit in? Glad we’re over that phase.
The key to a winning inbound marketing campaign is to make unique content that people actually want to read or otherwise interact with. That means avoiding packing in keywords just to show up on a search engine. That means learning some psychology. And some pop culture. The more your brand feels like it’s run by real people and not Keyword Searching Machines the better.
Sharing is caring
You’ve made your content and that does you no good if people aren’t passing it along. The two main ways people can share inbound marketing content are backlinks and social sharing.
Backlinks refer to when someone else has cited your content within their own content through a link (read the in-depth on backlinks here).
There are companies you can pay that promise to get you hundreds of backlinks in a flash - do not roll like that. Google’s algorithms are looking out for exactly this kind of spammy activity and can end up penalising you. A better way to get backlinks is to 1) write things others feel like posting about and 2) actively ask people to link to your content as part of your CTA while you conduct outreach
This is of course when people directly post their content in front of their networks. Make sure to prominently put links to your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/YouTube or other social pages, and write a CTA that encourages people to share. Here are some more tips on increasing your social media presence (for those of us who are broke).
Take the next step in your relationship
Inbound marketing is part of how you get people to your website. But don’t get too wrapped up in getting new visitors that you forget to guide them to the next steps:
- Generating leads by capturing emails
- Creating a conversion funnel that direct people to your products and all the way to checkout
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*Image via Vimeo